The lungs, sinuses and mucous membranes produce phlegm naturally every day in response to allergens and contaminants that enter your body with the air you breathe. This mucousy substance lines the passages of your sinuses and throat, and helps prevent bacteria and viruses from gaining a choke hold.
If by chance you do get sick, the phlegm changes consistency going from a clear, thin substance, to a thick, greenish-yellow mucous that can stick to the back of throat causing irritation and coughing. Now how to get rid of phlegm in back of your throat?
Natural Remedies for Phlegm
While many different conditions can cause excess phlegm (thick mucus in the throat or that comes up with coughing), it can be a very uncomfortable and often irritating symptom. Excess phlegm can generally be cleared more readily than whatever has caused it, especially first thing in the morning when the buildup is generally the worst. The following suggested remedies may help cut down on phlegm, aid in chest and sinus decongestion, and may also help eradicate the infection that caused it in the first place. These are all feasible options for just about anyone (barring allergies or other physical complications) and the ingredients can be found at most department stores or health stores.
Cut Back on Dairy
While dairy foods are healthy and essential in your diet, during periods of excessive phlegm production it’s generally a good idea to cut back. Dairy can thicken the phlegm and make it more difficult to expel, and may cause more phlegm production.
Milk and citrus juices are known to create extra mucous. Dairy products, like yogurt, butter and creamy cheese, are much like milk and can create large amounts of thick mucous. Soy milk also produces mucous. This type of mucous tends to be thick and hard to cough up, coating the back of the throat and making it feel as if there is a layer of glue sticking things together.
Excessive phlegm often needs more than water to break it up, and it is also often caused by bacterial infections. In both cases, a warm gargle with either salt water or apple cider vinegar is recommended, it will help break up existing mucous and prevent it from sticking to the back of the throat and other passages. This may not get at deeper congestion issues, but it will help make breathing more bearable until the underlying problems are resolved.
Horseradish or Wasabi
Eaten in fairly concentrated amounts in food, spicy foods such as horseradish are a powerful sinus decongestant, and may also help break up chest congestion and excessive phlegm. If you’re really brave, you can try a little bit plain and see fast results, but this is often too spicy for most people.
Garlic and Onions
Garlic has known antiseptic properties (fresh garlic is best), while onions are popular choices for breaking up chest congestion. Throw these into a soup and get a warm salt water gargle at the same time for a great phlegm-busting kick.
With a lot of antiviral compounds and a great taste to boot, ginger is one of the top choices for chest congestion and excess phlegm because of its ability to get to a very common root of congestion problems. Fresh ginger can be used in food or brewed in a tea in order to reap the benefits.
In addition, spicy foods like horseradish, chili peppers, cayenne and wasabi are known to make good expectorants. When a person eats spicy foods, they normally become very thirsty. Drinking lots of water can help to flush loosened mucous out of the body. The water also helps to dispel the heat from the spices from otherwise, hurting or disturbing the digestive tract as it follows its path through the body.
In Germany, anise is recommended for getting rid of phlegm – and it’s also a common ingredient in some herbal teas. Try in a tea by itself, or in combination with ginger, chamomile and lemon for a tasty tea that is helpful for breaking up phlegm, as well as other symptoms of coughs and colds.
Guaifenesin: If the phlegm is already present, guaifenesin is an excellent generic, cough expectorant. Avoid cough suppressants. They do nothing to relieve the cough and will not help you to get rid of the cause. Expectorants, on the other hand, will help the body expel what is causing the phlegm and mucous to build up.
Steam from a vaporizer or sauna is also beneficial: The hot steam lubricates the inside of the nasal passages, loosening mucous and helping it to break up so the body can get rid of it naturally.
Keep the respiratory tract clear: Blowing the nose and clearing the throat frequently can reduce build up of mucous within the sinuses.
Mucous and phlegm play a natural role in keeping your body healthy. It’s when the body produces too much, or is unable to get rid of the excess that it becomes uncomfortable.